In Nepali I have encountered three forms of address that are used in everyday life: high, middle, low. Each has its own word for "you" and "he/she" and its own conjugation. I use the high form with teachers and the middle form with students and friends. As far as I can make out, the low form can be derogatory and insulting or it can be used for your closest friend or spouse. I have heard teachers at other schools tell me that they use the low form when addressing their students, but at my school I have only noticed the form used when the teachers were yelling at two boys to stop fighting.
This is how you say "sit down" in each:
But if I ever met the former King of Nepal, he would expect for me to say "sit down" this way:
There is a separate form that is used for the Royal Family and the elite in Kathmandu Valley. But the differences go beyond verb conjugation. For example:
English Normal Nepali Royal Nepali
Come here! aaunus! sawaari hoibaksyus!
to eat khaanu jyunar garibasknu
hand haat bahuli
shoes jutta paupos
to say bhaanu marji hunu
These examples come from a course on second year spoken Nepali that was part of the materials that my Nepali teachers used back when they taught Nepali to Peace Corps Volunteers (before the abolition of the monarchy). My host family, who are Kathmandu Valley resident Chhettries, understood every example and taught me other phrases that I could use in the Royal Nepali court. They told me that it is also the language of certain Indian elites, but in Nepal only people in Kathmandu Valley know it.
This is from Unleashing Nepal by Sujeev Shakya, referring to the Panchayat regime:
"All businesses ran on nepotism and required the special blessing of the royal family in order to effectively start up and function. This was typified in the use of language in particular. The king and royal family members were addressed in a grammatical form that could not be used for common citizens. It contained a lot of Urdu usage and an exclusive vocabulary to describe food, eating, sleeping, and other daily activities. As knowledge of this language was a major advantage in gaining proximity to the power centres around the palace, it functioned as a means of excluding people who were unfamiliar with it."
Indeed, most of the other examples given in the materials relate to seeking favors from the king: nigaaha baksnu (to grace kindly), huknu (to make a Royal proclamation), Tarkyaaunu, (to offer to the king), paaumaa winti chaDaaunu (to make a request to a member of the Royal family), darin baksnu (to pay a visit).
This is a very concrete example of how the knowledge of a language can be very powerful in Nepali society. Because Nepali is the native language of a minority of the Nepali citizens, knowledge of Nepali itself acts in a similar way today, as does the English language.
I asked people in the Valley whether they would still speak this language to the ex-King if they met him today. They said that they still would, as a sign of their continuing respect for the Royal family.